Thomas Hardy’s "Jude the Obscure" and D. H. Lawrence’s "Sons and Lovers":a psychological transition from Victorianism to Modernism

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Christinat, Emily Rose
Zoller, Peter T.

Authors Thomas Hardy and D.H. Lawrence were both influenced by the old traditions of the 19 th century and the new ideals of the early 20 th century. By comparing Hardy’s final novel, Jude the Obscure , originally published in 1895, to Lawrence’s early novel Sons and Lovers , released in 1913, one recognizes thematic similarities signifying the influence of Hardy on Lawrence’s work. This novel-to-novel approach allows for a tightly focused comparison between the two authors that reflects similarities found in their other bodies of work (including novels, poems, plays, and criticism), while the relative chronological closeness of the two novels---a mere eighteen years apart---emphasizes the authors’ function of providing a literary link between Victorian and Modernist ways of thought. By also examining the influence of psychoanalysis, and specifically Sigmund Freud, on Lawrence’s novel, one better understands the way in which this budding field of psychology enhanced the descriptive quality of writing and helped to distinguish Lawrence from Hardy. Hardy touched upon topics of sexuality and internal conflict that Lawrence later expanded upon in his own novels. Though both authors emphasized similar themes and character traits, Hardy proved unable to address them as thoroughly and lucidly as Lawrence because he lacked the critical psychological vocabulary to which Lawrence, as a Modernist, had access. At the same time, both writers addressed subject matters at odds with his society’s moral standards and gained notoriety due to the content of their novels. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)

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Thesis (M.A.)--Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of English.
"December 2005."